Did you know that in Colombia they capture small hippos to sell? Learn about this illegal traffic, stories of attacks by these animals, the flavor of their meat, and how this species that was brought, in the eighties, by Pablo Escobar, is invading the country.

Pablo Escobar, with his big financial capacity to transform everything at will during his life, left a legacy in Doradal (Antioquia), region now visited by thousands of tourists interested in the country’s mafia history. “Hurt whoever hurts, if it weren’t for Pablo, this here would be a death,” said the owner of a bar.

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Why hippos?

Apparently, with the hippos the transaction went beyond the attention and care in exchange for posing for tourists. In several national and foreign media, the rumor spread, not confirmed by the authorities, that the feces of these animals served as camouflage to transport cocaine without being discovered by anti-drug dogs at airports. Normally, when dogs sniff cocaine, they warn of its presence by going to the place where it is: suitcases, shoes, clothing, musical instruments, etc., but when, in addition to cocaine, they detect, through feces, the presence of a much bigger beast, they are incapable of warning when thinking that they will be attacked, and they pretend to be oblivious to the drug. Life first than duty.

For the most primary human and animal necessity, such as defecation, hippos reached the status of accomplices, and were baptized by the press as “the hippos of cocaine.”

Innocent of their owner and of the use that was given to what came out of their behinds, they ate, swam and copulated happily and without the dangers that their peers run on the African continent, such as droughts and predators.

In December 1993, the creator of the earthly paradise was shot on a terrace in Medellín after a police chase (that’s the official version), and the imported animals were orphaned. Most were adopted by zoos, others more harmless went astray, and hippos continued to multiply in that declining kingdom. With the new births the animals realized the narrowness of the tributaries of the hacienda and disputes began. With bites and bumps, the strongest attacked the weakest, some crushed the offspring of others to show fierceness and dominance (as occurs in the African territory), and the exiles, some alone or with their herd, sought new waters in that land that seems to be marked by satellite lines of multiple blue veins that flow into the main artery of the country, the Magdalena River.

Stories of monumental beasts roaring in the waters and scaring fishermen began to be told throughout the region. The rumors reached Barrancabermeja, 200 kilometers from the start of the pilgrimage. And although it was not believed that they would go that far, the Regional Autonomous Corporation of the Black and Nare River Basins (Cornare), confirmed the words of the fishermen.

And what was done when they were left at the mercy of nature? The Colombian Ministry of the Environment may have thought that some Colombian bacteria would disappear from the face of the country to the intruders, and preferred to wait with folded arms at the desks. Then, with the problem as big as the tons of animals, he thought about the sacrifice, the sterilization, the demarcation of a special area or giving them to any country that raised its hand. The methods were tested and they concluded that each required an investment that would destroy the Ministry’s budget. The only entity that has been pending of the problem is Cornare. Since 2006 they have been counted and mapped – there is an estimated free population of about 60. In addition, to protect the inhabitants, it has put up traffic signs with these animals painted in the places where they are present, gives workshops to the communities on the risks of proximity and, in the absence of the government, they have only to pray that do not appear a dead peasant or a beaten foreigner who is sometimes a worldwide scandal.

Read the whole story in: Voragine.

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The community that lives with hippos in Colombia 5

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